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Haven's Highlands

On Lammas (last August 1st) Lee, Scott, Shannon and I met at Haven to do some clearing, and have our Lammas/Lughnasadh Feast afterwards. It was a good day, warm, sunny. All worked hard. I took some time to explore the farther areas of Haven by the streams, with an eye for areas that might be good for siting the temple.  Galadriel went with me, as I recall.  (The pictures I'm inserting in the following account were not taken at the time, but rather the following October 18th.  Therefore they show a sunny autumn day rather than the heat of summer. But for the autumn colors, though, they give a good feel for the scenes.)

Let us start with the rough road that enters Haven, rising first to the future dwelling site, and then going past the future Ag building/shop site:




If one follows this road past the shop site, it continues on, even more roughly, along the tracks made by the machine that dug the perc test pits farther back in the southwest part of the property.  I followed this road until I came to a faint path turning north from the road, into the wilder areas of Haven where the streams are.  That turning looks like this:

 

I followed that downhill and northeastward, until I came to the grassy spot near the center of Haven where we called out and introduced ourselves to the spirit of the land, the day before Lee and I signed the closing papers:




Walking through this place, I came to a tangle of blackberries, ferns, and vine maple.  It was fairly rough going the whole way from here on out, bushwhacking through a good deal of underbrush, doing initial trail-clearing as I went.  After making my way through that first tangle and pushing aside some branches, I saw the following little uphill trek to a large maple clump:



Beyond the maple clump the way rolled on toward a cluster of three trees ahead:



Passing to the left of the three-trunked vine maple, we went downward through more brush, to the left, and on.  Ahead I saw where Galadriel had come to the edge of the first stream:

 

The water was very low, it being August and dry.  Even in these October pictures, the water level was still low, for we had had little rain.  (The rainy season began soon after -- it seemed like almost the next day!)




Here is the place I crossed the stream -- Galadriel is following me, for once:






I made it across the first stream, and saw where another stream joined that one in an unexpected location. Clearly we have some stream-following and mapping to do!



Beyond the second stream, I saw a tangled land between those two streams that seemed to rise:



But I was tired, and it was drawing toward time for our Lammas rite and feast. So I turned back, saving further exploration for another time.

During my next regular monthly Dark Moon meditative communion on August 9th, I opened myself to guidance with regard to finding the site for Haven's Temple. The message was clear: I was to go to the place between the streams at Mabon, the Autumnal Equinox, and do an overnight Vision Quest there.

It was only after I had emerged from this meditative trance state and checked the calender that I saw the this Fall Equinox was also a Full Moon -- a very special Harvest Moon.

But I had a lot of preparation to do, which I began formally at the next Full Moon (August 24th) at the Picnic Tree at Haven. (I do not yet have a photo of the Picnic Tree!  I must make sure I get a picture of it, for it will be unlikely to survive the grading and driveway construction ahead.)

On Labor Day Weekend, Lee and I went to Haven to explore, hang out, and enjoy. I came prepared for trail-clearing and bush-whacking, and at length made my way across that second stream to the land between the streams.  I had seen something like a dirt track, and followed that into the brush, again clearing as I went:

There I started climbing, clearing and pushing my way through the brush and trees. The land between the streams rises in a knoll taller than I had anticipated -- taller, I believe, than the site where we had originally thought to put the Temple. Finally I came to the top, and it was exciting! I had discovered what I now call the Haven Highlands, a beautiful place with a good flat top. Anxiously I looked for the survey markers, finding them well to the west of the area -- the top of the knoll was clearly on our land!

I called Lee, who was some distance away at his Reading Tree.  It is a beautiful, if precarious perch at the base of a tree that emerges from the top of a 15' to 20' bank above the stream, and leans out over the flowing water.  He loves to sit there and read.




Here's a closer view of the base of the Reading Tree:



 

He managed to hear me calling, "I've found something!"

It took a while for him to bush-whack his way to me, following my voice, but when he finally got there, saw the place and my excitement, he began designing the Temple on the spot!

At last, we had made it to Haven's Highlands.  As we made our way back, I knew that someday we would be building a bridge over the crossing, seen here with our backs to the Highlands, looking toward our return route. 

Later, when the Autumnal Equinox and Harvest Full Moon came, slowly and with much effort I schlepped up a folding chair, tarp, beeswax candles, tripod holders, incense, and a heavy, large round rock from the stream below for an Omphallos, to the place at the top of the knoll, and I spent the night there, questing for vision.

I have done Vision Quests on several occasions before. Always there is some element of ordeal in such spiritual work, and this one was no exception. Simply getting myself and the needed stuff there before sunset (and back again, after sunrise) was probably the worst. The way was rough and uphill, the weight carried was considerable and awkward, and I'm now a Crone, and less fit than I used to be. Also, the Vision Quest was done fasting, and without sleep.

But this Vision Quest was different from the others in that there was far less spiritual struggle and work -- in fact, I was simply given a night-long Gift of incredible beauty and assurance. It was as if the Gods and Goddesses simply took me to this place, showed it to me, and said, "Yes, this is the place: the Sacred Precinct. And is it not a wonder, and beautiful?"

Alas!  I have no pictures from that night (nor even any of the site during the day, not yet).  Throughout the long hours between sunset and sunrise, moonrise and moonset, I watched in wonder as the huge silver moon traveled from east to west across the sky, its silver beams revealing the very Glory of the Goddess all around me. The place changed as the angle of the moonlight changed, and clouds gathered or parted. It was full of wonder, and life, and beauty, and presences without number.

Here I invite you to take a closer look at a stone we found at the crossing of the second stream, the crossing between the Sacred Precinct and the rest of Haven:



Notice the large stone with the mark shaped like a rough butterfly or labrys.  The butterfly or labrys shape is a very ancient, prehistoric symbol of the Goddess, in Her aspect as Lady of Transformation.

The place and I were well and truly blessed.


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